Mystery: A Double Suicide Smacks Of A Scam

ONE THING IS CERTAIN about Adam and Elena Emery's disappearance last month: they'd had enough of the Rhode Island justice system. The day he was convicted of chasing and stabbing an innocent man to death for sideswiping his car, Adam, 31, and his wife, Elena, 32, of Warwick, bought matching black sweat suits and 80 pounds of strap-on exercise weights. After a meal, they parked--and were last seen in--their green Toyota on the Newport Bridge, 20 stories above Narragansett Bay. The engine was still warm when police arrived. On the front seat were Adam's ripped credit cards, his wallet and Elena's pocketbook and white high heels, but Adam and Elena were gone.

As the police began their search for the couple's bodies, this picture-perfect suicide scene began to fuzz. No one on the busy bridge had seen them leap. At Kelly's Sporting Goods, Adam, purportedly in his last hours, had balked at the total on the register. Elena, only 125 pounds herself, had struggled to carry a 20-pound bag out of the store. How, police want to know, did she scale the bridge's high railing, thus weighted down, so quickly that a passerby didn't spot her? Most incongruous for some is the place they shared their final meal: Burger King. "It wouldn't have been my choice," says state police Capt. Robert McQueeney. When the police search, employing sonar, computerized maps of the bay floor and a human-detecting dog, failed to turn them up, a warrant was issued for Adam's arrest for violating bail.

The couple's families insist the suicide makes sense. "When the verdict came, that killed them," says Elena's sister Maria Williams. "Adam could not live with being known as a murderer." The relatives, looking to settle the matter, spent about $15,000 for a further sweep of the 140-foot-deep waters. They bought only more suspicions that Adam and Elena are on the lam.